Other names: The Greenland, Kalaallit qimmiat (Qimmeq), Grønlandshund, Grünlandshund, Esquimaux Dog
The Greenland Dog is a large sled dog. They were brought from Siberia to North America over 1,000 years ago and were also used for hunting seals and polar bears. It’s closely related to the Siberian Husky and shares many of the same characteristics. The Greenland Dog is strong, loyal, and very confident. Nothing fazes this assured working dog. They require an equally confident and well-experienced handler.
Key facts about the Greenland Dog
Life expectancy :
Origins and history
The Greenland Dog has been hunting and living alongside humans for the last 2,000 years. They were bred from the working dogs and wolves of Northern Siberia. They were then taken to North America by the Thule tribes as they migrated across the globe. As well as hunting and tracking large land predators, they also pulled sleds over huge distances in sub-zero temperatures. Many still compete in sled trial competitions in Alaska and Siberia. They were first brought to UK shores in the 1850s. Owners began showing the Greenland in dog shows around 1870, and the first UK kennel club was established ten years later in 1880.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 1 : Nordic Sledge Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Greenland Dog
Female : Between 22 and 24 in
Male : Between 24 and 26 in
Female : Between 62 and 71 lb
Male : Between 62 and 71 lb
Any combination of black, white, brown, red and grey.
Type of coat
Thick, dense fur. Soft undercoat. Harsh topcoat.
Brown. Blue. Hazel. Amber.
A strong, compact dog with a thick neck and large head. Long, fluffy tail. A well-balanced and confident posture. Dense fur, especially around the chest and belly.
Good to know
Greenland Dogs can be very difficult to handle. Early training and socialisation is vital.
They tend to bark a lot. They also enjoy howling, and often late at night. They can jump really high. These dogs can easily leap over a four foot high fence.
The Greenland Dog is an affectionate family pet, but they also need their own space. Don’t overwhelm them with too much attention. They’ll come and say hello when they’re ready for more strokes.
This dog is a real extrovert. They love playing, entertaining, and showing off to people. These high-energy dogs will play for hours.
Greenland dogs take quite a long time to mature. This means they can display puppy-like behaviour well into their early adulthood. Can become overwhelming and hyperactive if not handled correctly.
Exceptionally intelligent. This makes them easy to train in the right hands. These dogs have a low threshold for boredom; training needs to be challenging and well-structured.
Although they’re mainly used for pulling sleds, the Greenland Dog is also a first rate hunter. They were once used to track seals and polar bears.
Fearful / wary of strangers
A brave and assured animal. Nothing scares these confident dogs. They’re naturally curious and will rarely shy away from anyone.
The Greenland Dog has a strong independent streak. They can come across as quite stubborn. Inexperienced owners will struggle to handle this willful animal.
Behaviour of the Greenland Dog
These dogs have been living and working alongside humans for thousands of years. They need lots of company. Prolonged periods of solitude will frustrate this social animal.
Easy to train / obedience
This all depends on the quality and experience of the dog handler. Expert trainers will really enjoy training this smart dog. Inexperienced owners will struggle.
Greenland Dogs are well-known for being vocal. They’re big barkers and big howlers, although they tend to calm down as they start to mature.
Tendency to run away
A notorious escape artist. Make sure there’s no gaps in the garden fence. They’re also more than capable of jumping over smaller fencing.